,Easter (Old English Ēostre),[nb 1] also called the Pasch or Pascha (the two latter names derived, through Latin: Pascha and Greek Πάσχα Paskha, from Hebrew: פֶּסַח Pesaḥ), or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (although the astronomical equinox occurs on 20 March in most years), and the “Full Moon” is not necessarily on the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies from 22 March to 25 April inclusive. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, and in which therefore the celebration of Easter varies between 4 April and 8 May.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are identical or very similar. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.”
,,Traditional Easter food
The eggs are painted starting with Thursday. Initially the only accepted color was red, but in time other colors were also applied – yellow, green, blue and even black.
In the villages the paint is still obtained from plants.
The eggs are usually first painted yellow, because the other colors will look better when applied over it. Blue painted eggs are an exception.
In Banat, the first painted egg is called a „try”. In the Easter morning it’s shared between the children residing in that house.
The yellow eggs, also called „galbineala”, „galbinare”, „galbinete” sau „galbinele” (in Romanian “galben” means “yellow”) are painted with an extract of wild apple tree bark and leaves, different kinds of willow or onion leaves.
Red eggs, also called “rosele”, “rusele” or “rosetele” (in Romanian “rosu” means “red”) are colored with a paint obtained from red alder tree bark, cinnamon, oregano or amber.
The paint for the green eggs, also called “verdete” (in Romanian “verde” means “green”) is obtained from pasque flower, sunflower seeds or nettles.
The blue eggs, also called “albastrele” (in Romanian “albastru” means “blue”) are painted with an extract of sunflower, pasque flower and woods. These are boiled in borsch, in which bluestone had been put. These eggs are not first painted yellow, like the others, being directly obtained from white, unpainted eggs.
The black eggs are also called “negrele” or “negrete” (in Romanian “negru” means “black”) and remind of the Jesus’ sufferings on the cross. The paint is obtained from woods, black alder and nut tree bark. These eggs are obtained from eggs first painted yellow and then red.
The most interesting traditional eggs are the decorated eggs (in Romanian they are called “oua incondeiate”, “oua impiestrite”, “oua inchiestrite”). Special instruments are used for decorating them. These take the form of very thin and round sticks and are called “chisita (bijara)”, “matuf (motoc)” or “festeleu”. The “festeleu” is a sharp stick made of beech wood. At one end it has linen or cotton little pieces. The “festeleu” is soaked in melted wax. In contact with the surface of the egg, little dots will appear.
The most used decorative motifs for these eggs are: the lost path (on which the souls of the dead walk toward the judgment), the cross, the fir or oak leaf. In Walachia the saw and the plough are also drawn and in Moldavia the lightning and the fork. Various plants, animals and kinds of crosses are also drawn.
According to the Romanian tradition, if on Saturday before the Easter you place an egg (on which you have drawn something every day, beginning with the middle of the Fast) on a garbage dump, you’ll see an animal (usually a dog) trying to take that egg. You shouldn’t let it take it, as it will return for it and grant you any wish you have.
”Pasca”, a special Easter cake, is baked on Great Thursday, but especially on Saturday, so it wouldn’t alter until Easter. It has a round shape (reminding little Jesus’ diapers) or a rectangular one (the shape of His grave). In some regions “pasca” is also baked on St. George Day.
A legend from Bucovina goes that the “pasca” has been done from the times when Jesus was traveling to the world together with his apostles. They remained a night at a peasant house and when they left, he put food in their bags. The apostles asked Jesus when the Easter is and He replied that the Easter would be when they would find corn bread in their bags. Looking in the bags, they noticed the peasant had given them exactly corn bread, so that they knew it was Easter time.
The “pasca” can be simple, with jagged margins, or it can have dough braids. The middle braid is cross-shaped, reminding of Jesus’ crucifixion. This is called a “cross pasca”. The simple “pasca” is for the family, while the “cross pasca” is taken to the church, in order to be sanctified. Small “pasca” (“pascute”) are baked for the little children.
Among the ingredients are pot cheese, egg yolk, raisins and sometimes sugar and cinnamon.
The shells of the eggs used for the “pasca” are thrown in a river. This action has two explanations. It is believed that the hens are protected this way of the hawks. The major explanation is, however, the ancient belief that the shells are taken by the river to the country of the Good People, announcing them the Easter has came.
The cakes (called “cozonaci”) have a round or rectangular long shape, symbolizing Jesus’ grave.
The traditional Easter lamb also symbolizes Jesus. In Banat region, the remains of the sacrificed lamb are buried under an apple or a pear tree, in order that the family should be healthy.
Saturday night, when all the cleaning and preparations in the house are done, the steak, the pies and the cakes are put on the table, in the “clean room”.
Before going to the church, people wash themselves in a bowl with water, where red painted eggs and silver and golden coins were also put. They believe that this way they will be as glowing and healthy as the eggs and they will be clean and will have more money, due to the silver and golden coins.
After they clean and dress the new clothes, the people take a bowl with “pasca”, eggs and steak and go to the church, where the aliments will be sanctified. Only the ill old men and little children remain at home, as it is said that who can go to the church on Easter night, but he doesn’t do it, will get ill.
A fire is lighted near the church and it will be kept for all the three Easter days. In some regions, when the roosters announce the midnight, the man who watches the fire shuts with his rifle, calling the people to the church. The bells are also ringed at midnight.
People hold lighted candles during the religious mass and only put them out when they return home, after they enter the house and make crosses. These Easter candles are kept for the times of danger, when they will have a protective function.
At home, people first taste the anaphora and then sit to the table. They first eat some of the sanctified aliments and only then the rest. In some regions, rabbit or fish meat is first eaten, believing that these animals will confer to the people some of their agility. The shepherds and the other persons who are away from home on Easter day eat willow or apple tree buds instead of anaphora.
There’s the custom of knocking the eggs. It is believed that those who knock their eggs will see each other on the other world, after death. In the first day of Easter, eggs are only knocked with the top. On Monday they can be knocked top to the bottom and on the next days they can be knocked any way. The first ones to knock their eggs are the parents, one to the other, then the children to the parents and then the other relatives and friends. According to the tradition, the one whose egg cracks first is weaker and he will die quicker. He must give his egg to the winner; otherwise he will eat its egg rotten on the other world.”
Happy Easter from us for all Christians! Team from Mogoşani School